I would be willing to bet (if I wasn’t a Baptist ha) if you asked a random person who Jesus’ parents were, their answer would be “God” for His father and “Mary” for His mother. Sure, God was Jesus’ heavenly Father that gave Him the title “Son of God” but Jesus also had earthly parents that gave him the title “Son of Man.” Why did Jesus need two dads? Talk about daddy issues.
Matthew 1: 18-25 explains how Joseph became Jesus’ “adopted” father through his marriage to the Virgin Mary.
Matthew 1:2-16 lays out the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph which traced back to King David and all the way back to Abraham. The Israel was waiting on a King to save them from the Davidic Line, which is promised in Jeremiah 33:14-18.
17 For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel,’
Thus, is was necessary for Jesus to come from the line of David and Joseph was in the position to take on this role of dad.
Joseph obviously played a crucial role in God’s plan for Jesus by allowing Jesus to enter the line of King David. Mary is mentioned several times while Joseph is only mentioned in Matthew, Luke, Hebrews, Acts, and Revelation for a grand total of 34 times. If he was so important, shouldn’t we know more about him?
We know he was “just a man”( Matthew 1:19) and a carpenter (Matthew 13:55.) After the Flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15) ,settling in Nazareth (Matthew 2:21-23), and finding Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:42-51) the reader sees nothing more from Joseph. He is not shown to be present in Jesus’ adult life and he is not mentioned being at the Crucifixion at the Wedding of Cana. He may have been there, but the importance of him being there is nonexistent which leads the reader to believe he was not present.
To find out about what happened to Joseph we must use other sources.
The History of Joseph the Carpenter written by Historia Josephi Fabri Lignari probably composed in Byzantine Egypt in Greek in the late 6th or early 7th century gives an account of Mary and Joseph’s life and their effect on Jesus. According to Lignari, Joseph had four sons and two daughters in a previous marriage. This text then paraphrases the Gospel of James, which says Joseph lived until the age of 111. Before his death, Joseph prayed and the archangels -Gabriel and Michael- appeared to him. In The Apocryphal Gospels and other Documents Relating to the History of Christ, Cowper states that the writer of this text has an agenda to exalt Joseph. This text is also shown to include “independent fictions”that would keep the reader interested while also mentioning older traditions in order to teach. Although this book does contain references from the Scripture, it is also meant to be entertaining which diminishes it’s validity.
The Urantia Book, also known as The Fifth Epochal Revelation of Truth, also supplies a theory of what happened to Joseph. The Urantia Foundation claims “The Urantia Book portrays our relationship with God the Father.” This text explains that Joseph died on a Tueday, September 25 to be exact, from a work accident and Jesus was only a fourteen year old boy. Although this book does not contradict the Scriptures, it does provide narratives not mentioned in the Bible. Although this is only recognized as an “uplifting narrative based on the Bible”, some people do believe it’s teachings
According to Catholic tradition, many believe Joseph died before Jesus started His ministry. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the Apocryphal Date for Joseph’s birth is 90 BC in Bethlehem and his death is July 20 AD 18 in Nazareth. Joseph is a patron saint to the Catholic Church because it is assumed he died with Mary and Jesus close to him. The fact is there is no indefinite answer to this question that has been asked for years.
Although Joseph disappeared from the text rather quickly and we must go to other sources for more information about him, it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a vital character in the Scripture. His genealogy aligned with Mary’s assumed genealogy in Luke provided God with perfect timing to send His son.